The social media secrets to going viral

by | Oct 21, 2015 | Public Relations

According to new research that gauges the way Americans interact with viral videos, 69 percent of Americans say they share good viral videos online—and, of those, 19 percent do so to passive aggressively express political views, especially Millennials (25 percent say they do this).

Most interesting to marketers and PR, 57 percent of Americans believe they can predict when an online video will be a hit, or “go viral,” with the biggest predictors being if it made them laugh (40 percent) or if they saw a friend share it (27 percent). The data were released this week by Mode Studios, the digital video content arm of Mode Media, which announced the results of a survey conducted online on their behalf by Harris Poll in October.

Viral = sharing good videos

Sixty-nine percent of Americans say they share good viral videos online. Of those, 34 percent do so to get friends’ social reactions, 26 percent hope to start a social conversation, and 47 percent do so expecting no reaction whatsoever.

Mode Studios’ popular 100 Years” series has become a wildly successful viral hit, having crossed more than 250 million total viewers to date. The series’ episode 1, “100 Years of Women’s Fashion,” is the most viewed fashion video in digital history with over 175 million views, streaming up to 6 million views per day.

Big laughs or friends sharing = go viral

Fifty-seven percent of Americans believe they can predict when an online video will go viral. The number is even higher among Millennials—78 percent believe they can predict when an online video will go viral.

The biggest predictors, said Millennials, was that a video made them laugh (55 percent), that their friends are sharing a video (45 percent) and that celebrities are sharing a video (37 percent). Millennials consider celebrities a much higher predictor than other age groups; only 15 percent of 35-44 year olds, 7 percent of 45-54 year olds, 5 percent of 55-64 year olds, and 1 percent of seniors 65+ thought celebrity shares would impact the likelihood that a video will go viral:

How can you predict that an online video will go viral
General Pop Millennials
I laugh when I see it 40 percent 55 percent
I see my friends sharing it 27 percent 45 percent
It features animals 22 percent 27 percent
I see celebrities sharing it 15 percent 37 percent
I gasp when I watch it 14 percent 24 percent
It features kids 13 percent 16 percent

Eleven percent of men said that they could tell an online video would go viral if they felt aroused after watching it, compared to just 3 percent of women. Millennial men especially said feeling aroused was a predictor (18 percent).

Sharing is caring

Of the 82 percent of Americans who say they watch videos online, 44 percent say that when they see an online video they like, they watch it again; 42 percent show it to their significant other; 38 percent forward to a friend; 36 percent share/post to social media; 32 percent talk about it the next day; 28 percent look for more videos; and 12 percent show the video to their children. This figure was higher among 35-to-44-year-old women, 27 percent of whom will show their children an online video they like.

Forty-eight percent of Millennials who ever share online videos, however, hope to get friends’ social reactions; 40 percent hope to start a social conversation; 18 percent share good viral videos online in hopes of being liked (compared to 3-12 percent of people in other age groups); and 11 percent hope to make new friends (compared to 2-6 percent of people in other age groups).

Using videos to communicate indirectly…especially about politics or to win an argument

Sixty-nine percent of Americans also admit to sharing viral videos for communicating indirectly for passive aggressive reasons. This is especially true of Millennials, of whom 25 percent say they have shared a viral video to passive aggressively express political views.

Which of the following passive aggressive reasons have caused you to share a viral video online?*
Gen Pop Millennials
To express my political views 19 percent 25 percent
To win an argument 11 percent 16 percent
To share my religious beliefs 10 percent 14 percent

*of those who share videos online

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Mode Media from October 6-8, 2015, among 3,027 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and, therefore, no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

Source: Business Wire; edited by Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter